CHICAGO (CBS) — A man was struck and seriously injured in a hit-and-run while crossing the street in the Brighton Park neighborhood this weekend.
At 5:34 p.m. Saturday, the 73-year-old man – identified by his son as Efren Mendez – was crossing California Avenue on 44th Street near Immaculate Conception Church, when a vehicle headed north on California Avenue hit him, police said.
“My dad was going to church at the time. He was on his way to mass, probably saying prayers for other people,” the victim’s son, Carlos Mendez, told CBS 2’s Jeremy Ross. “Now he’s hospitalized.”
The driver fled east on 44th Street and did not pull over at any point, police said.
Efren Mendez was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in serious condition, police said.
“He has some fractures on his skull. He has some brain contusions and fractured ribs. Right now, it’s touch and go,” Carlos Mendez said.
He added, “I’d like to know who would leave my father on a city intersection, you know, to perish?”
Police released surveillance images Sunday evening of the vehicle involved – a red Jeep Patriot sport-utility vehicle with fog lights and rear tinted windows.
Police also released clearer images of what such a vehicle looks like.
As for the victim, he is conscious and talking with family. He is described as a man of faith and a fighter – whose unfortunate fight for recovery continues under a doctor’s care.
“No one should have to start a New Year in the hospital caring for their dad because somebody decided to hit them with their car and leave him there,” Carlos Mendez said.
When asked what he hoped would happen to the person responsible, Carlos Mendez added: “I hope they’re brought to justice. I don’t know how that person could be able to sleep at night. We couldn’t sleep at night, and I hope that person never has to go through anything like what we’ve gone through in the last 24 hours.”
As of Sunday night, no one was in custody. The police Major Accidents Investigation Unit was investigating.